DEDICATIONS, PLEDGES, COMMITMENTS. For the past. For my own path. For surprises. For mistakes that worked so well. For tomorrow if I'm there. For the next real thing. Then for carrying it all through whatever is necessary. For following the little god who speaks only to me. --William Stafford

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Straying From Your Star/ No Return


This early snow is deep and heavy
It clings to the trees like new sashes and scarves

Last night I heard the F-16's
practicing their 30 Code sorties

It was not like a car going over my house
or hearing any number of cars

There is a lot of stress in these things they say
and I wonder: for whom

If it's not the Afghans it's the Chechens
The children of the Afghans look a lot like

my grandchildren in Oregon, and the children
of the Chechens like my little ones in Jordan

and all their sons, like mine, are Adam
and all their daughters, Eve (which are many)

We lie quietly together, loving one another
and when they are fast asleep in bliss

I lose my fears, looking for a loving touch
I would not burden them with my sadness

which is part of my punishment for being a poet
because, when you are making something beautiful

of words, everyday words that could become hymns
or plans or even prayers or blessings

layer by layer, with consummate care
a mistake could be disastrous

because, if you are not careful and precise
with their structure, the metaphors

running beneath their surface might crack
If you crack them your forgiveness is uncertain

because you know that gravity gets weaker
the farther you stray from your star


You will feel nothing until
you get to the point of no return

And you know that heavy objects
make the water ripple, and no one's life

is ever safe. Forces attract
and are repelled, and bodies move

and you know what Dante said
at the entrance to Hell

and you go about speaking words
or writing them. It is rumored

that Our Lord Jesus Christ will rise
again. I have given up sweets for Lent

except for chocolate, which is after all
only a bean. Hosanna

Then I think I am Light wading through
a kind of Light I can barely remember

I see my mother is in the kitchen
making hot cross buns

And this Light tastes
like cinnamon and raisins

My brother pours syrup on pancakes
stacked to the moon

his favorite thing. A perfect storm of broken cells
took him, elegant neurons, a billion units

of blown away DNA. I listen
to Mahler's Eighth, the Symphony

of a Thousand, and I wonder
Will I ever sleep again


1 comment:

Clifford said...

Sometimes, the only comment I can make about your exquisite poetry, is simply:


About Me

My photo
1. In dreams I am often young and thin with long blond hair. 2. In real life I am no longer young, or thin, or blonde. 3. My back hurts. 4. I hate to sleep alone. (Fortunately I don't have to!) 5. My great grandfather had 2 wives at once. 6. I wish I had more self-discipline. (I was once fired from a teaching position in a private school because they said I was "too unstructured and undisciplined." --Who, me??? Naaaahhh....) 7. I do not blame my parents for this. Once, at a parent-teacher conference, the teacher told me my little boy was "spacey." We ALL are, I told her. The whole fan damily is spacey. She thought I was kidding. I wasn't. 8. I used to travel with a theater reperatory company. My parents weren't happy about this. 9. My mother was afraid that I would run off and paint flowers on my cheeks and live in a commune, and grow vegetables. I once smoked pot. ONE TIME. 10. I don't drink or smoke. (Or swear, much. Well, I drink milk, and water, and orange juice, and stuff. Cocoa. I love Pepsi.) 11. Most of my friends are invisible. 12. I am a poet and a writer. All of my writing on these pages is copyrighted. Borrowing (without acknowledgment) is a sin.